Archive for April, 2015

Love and Justice (and Babies!)

// April 25th, 2015 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

It has been a hectic week with a surprise trip to Las Vegas to help take care of my new niece and nephew while their mother (my sister-in-law) recovers in the hospital after a rough delivery.  She is improving and the kids are sure to be the smartest, kindest, beautifulest people the world has ever known.  I’m back in town for a couple of days and I look forward to sleeping.  (Seriously, this has given me some insight into what it takes to bring a child into the world, so hats off to all those who have taken that leap.)

Anyway, I just wanted to drop a quick note to invite you to join us tomorrow, 11am at Church in the Cliff, as we continue our discussion of the distinct early Christian communities described in Acts and in 1 John.  This week, we will focus especially on the practice of love and justice.  Hope to see you there!

Grace & Peace,

Welcome to the New Life

// April 18th, 2015 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

We had a great time at Oak Cliff Earth Day handing out free cookies.  Thanks to everyone who baked and helped prepare and set up and tear down and everyone who just came and hung out at the booth.  I love that we have such meaningful (and not so meaningful) conversation no matter where we are and have so much fun in the process!

This week we move back inside as we continue the season of Eastertide.  This is the lectionary year of the Gospel of Mark, which throws the lectionary deciders for a loop during Eastertide.  This is supposed to be the season of tales of the resurrection leading up to the formation of the Church at Pentecost.  But Mark doesn’t have any resurrection stories.  Instead, the lectionary fills in with other stuff, primarily from Acts and the Johannine corpus – in this case, the Gospel of John and 1 John.

This material does not specifically concern the resurrection, either, but it does say something about the resurrection life.  Jesus’ resurrection was supposed to be the “first fruits,” the first and paradigmatic sign of the new life to come.  Most Jews of the time had anticipated the raising of the dead for centuries as God’s final victory over the suffering of God’s people.  The Christian claim was that Jesus was, somehow, that victory.  This, of course, only led to more anticipation, waiting for that promise of new life to be fulfilled.  Welcome to the new life; it’s a lot like the old life.  However, the nearness of this new beginning in the person of Jesus inspired the early Christians to endeavor to live into that new life.  They didn’t just wait around for something to happen.

Each collection of Jesus followers tried to do that in a different way.  We see this in the varied concerns of Paul’s letters to the churches he founded.  We see it in Paul’s conflicts with Peter.  We see one story in Acts and quite a different story reflected in the John material.  In a way, each one is trying to enact its own form of a utopian community.  I can’t wait to see how that works out!

Please join us this week, 11am at Church in the Cliff, as we discuss the promise and peril of trying to live in this world as we hope to live in the next.

Grace & Peace,

Sunday School

We will begin offering Sunday School for children, every Sunday starting May 3rd at 10am.  We are blessed to have Catalina Murcia as a part of our community.  Catalina is the founder and director of Art of Peace Community, a Montessori program here in Oak Cliff.  She is heading up our efforts to provide progressive, creative Bible education for our young ones using Godly Play materials.  It has been a long time since we have been able to provide this for our children and we couldn’t be more excited!  If you would like to volunteer to help teach, please email  Also, we are still getting some materials together, so look for a list soon of things you could help provide.

Free Cookies!

// April 11th, 2015 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

I will be brief this week.  First, I want to thank everyone that helped out with and participated in our Holy Week and Easter activities.  It’s a busy time of year in church life and we wouldn’t be able to do it without contributions from a lot of folks.  Because it is a busy time of year, every minister I know is either off completely or taking it easy this week.  Fortunately for me, I have an additional excuse.

This week is Oak Cliff Earth Day and we are having a booth at the Lake Cliff Park festival.  It’s a great opportunity to get out in the community, meet some new folks, and enjoy a day in the park.  Set up time overlaps with our normal service time, so we are going to meet at our booth (#18) at 11am and then walk to a pretty place in the park for a brief service.  After that, we will be in the booth from 12-5pm handing out free cookies.  If you know one thing about this church, know that the cookies will be good!

We hope to see you at Lake Cliff Park, either at 11am for our service or any time between noon and 5pm for free cookies!

Free cookies!

Grace & Peace,

Looking For a Miracle

// April 4th, 2015 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

Tomorrow is Easter, the day that Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the day that, for many, defines what the faith is entirely about.  I have to admit, I always have a little trouble making the shift from Lent to Eastertide, the season between Easter and Pentecost.  Maybe I’m just a Lent kind of guy with a dark turn of mind.  Whatever it is, it is hard to think about the resurrection and still fully experience Holy Week, the memory of the Passion.

As I was brought into the faith, it seemed that the death and resurrection were always spoken of in one breath.  The death was my fault, but the resurrection was my hope.  Put in that context, it is hard to want to focus on the death part.  My church did not observe Holy Week at all; suddenly it was Easter.  However, it is really important to take the death part for what it is, to fully embrace the reality of our limitations, to grieve loss and injustice.

Easter will come, but it is not today.  Today is a day spent in the tomb, hoping for a miracle.  I have every confidence that the miracle will come and I look forward to celebrating it with you.  Tomorrow.

Please join us in that celebration, tomorrow morning at 11am at Church in the Cliff.  After our Easter Sunday Service, we will have a potluck brunch – if you know anything about this church, you know you should not miss that! – and an egg hunt for kids of all ages.  I hope to see you on the other side!

Grace & Peace,